With the infection rate falling across the country people are still being urged to remain vigilant as 18 areas in England have recorded a rise in coronavirus cases compared to the previous week.
The closely watched weekly React study published by Imperial College London showed case rates were falling across England.
Professor Paul Elliott, who directed the research, said that while COVID-19 rates appear to be decreasing in some areas, infections are growing in the East Midlands despite the lockdown.
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Health secretary Matt Hancock said the findings were a “stark reminder” of the need to remain vigilant.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Thursday that the lockdown would not end in England until at least March, saying schools would still be closed after the end of the February half-term.
The latest data which covers the period up to the week ending on 23 January shows 18 local authorities (6%) in England recorded a rise in infections despite the lockdown.
The remaining 297 all saw a fall.
The rates are all recorded as per 100,000 people.
Bassetlaw (up from 232.4 to 371.2)
Derbyshire Dales (207.4 to 272.4)
Boston (165.3 to 218.0)
Wakefield (227.1 to 265.9)
Fylde (310.7 to 342.9)
North Warwickshire (403.0 to 435.2)
Bradford (272.1 to 302.0)
Barnsley (238.6 to 262.5)
Rushcliffe (256.7 to 276.9)
Bolsover (482.9 to 502.7)
Redcar and Cleveland (401 to 414.1)
North East Derbyshire (325.2 to 341)
North West Leicestershire (338.8 to 380.3)
East Northamptonshire (305.7 to 312.1)
Rotherham (280.7 to 284.8)
North Tyneside (211.1 to 215.5)
West Devon (161.3 to 168.5)
Knowsley in Merseyside continues to have the highest rate in England, with 1,241 new cases recorded in the seven days to 23 January, the equivalent of 822.6 cases per 100,000 people.
This is down from 1,102.3 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to 16 January.
Sandwell in the West Midlands has the second-highest rate, down from 930.4 to 781.5, with 2,567 new cases.
Slough in Berkshire is in third place, down from 1,022.5 to 714.9, with 1,069 new cases.
The findings from the React study show infections in England have flattened but are at the highest level recorded by the researchers, with the indication of a decline in the last week of the survey.
The main findings from the eighth round of the study suggest national prevalence was 1.57%, or 157 per 10,000 people infected, and it estimated the national R number to be at 0.98 with a range of 0.92 to 1.04.
Regional prevalence was highest in London at 2.83%, while in the South West it was 0.87%.
Professor Elliott said: “The number of people infected with the virus is at the highest level that we’ve recorded since we began testing last May.
“We’re not seeing the sharp drop in infections that happened under the first lockdown and if infections aren’t brought down significantly, hospitals won’t be able to cope with the number of people that need critical care.
“We all need to stay at home wherever possible and help bring the virus under control and protect our already over-stretched health system.”
Prof Elliott added: “I think the suggestion now that there is a decline happening, particularly in some regions may reflect now that the restrictions through lockdown are beginning to have some effect on the prevalence.”
He said that even though there is a suggestion of “a downtick”, it is by no means as fast as happened in the first lockdown.
“When we were first in the field in May, there was a rapid decline in prevalence,” he said.
The researchers say it will be some time before the impact of vaccination reduces pressures on hospitals.
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